Batu Lintang assemblyman accuses SDMC of dereliction in duty, leading to Sarawakian teen's death from Covid-19

Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How claims that Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has breached its duty of care. — Borneo Post pic
Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How claims that Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has breached its duty of care. — Borneo Post pic

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KUCHING, Aug 29 — Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How claims that Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has breached its duty of care, resulting in a 17-year-old falling victim to Covid-19.

In a statement yesterday, See said he had a letter written to the chief minister, which stated that he was utterly appalled and disheartened by the demise of a young and innocent Sarawakian.

“It is the first adolescent casualty in our country, whose life we could have saved if we have acted timely and progressively to vaccinate people of his age group.

“The spike in positive cases among them (youth) over the past months is a deafening distress call, but we have not acted expeditiously,” he said, adding, the letter was handed to the chief minister’s residence yesterday morning.

The death of the 17-year-old was one of three Covid-19 casualties reported Friday.

SDMC in a statement Friday reported that the boy was found positive on August 25 and passed away at Sarawak General Hospital (SGH). He had comorbidities of congenital disease, chronic lung disease and epilepsy.

See, who is also Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) presidential council member, pointed out that the case had exposed obvious flaws in the state’s policies, strategies and plans in mitigating the harm and adversities of the pandemic.

“The sharp rise in family clusters intensifies the risk of infections among the younger members in our Sarawakian families,” he said.

See therefore called on the chief minister to call for a special sitting of the State Legislative Assembly ‘for deliberation and improvement of state health policies to mitigate the pandemic and SDMC functions’.

Despite the provisions in Section 4 of Emergency (Essential Powers) (Sarawak) Ordinance 2021 disallowing the sitting of the DUN during the Emergency, See said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong — upon request of the chief minister — may be convinced to decree the DUN sitting if he thinks it appropriate after consultation with the Head of State.

Meanwhile, at the PSB Southern Zone Taskforce Facebook Live Session Friday, See urged the state government and SDMC to improve their policies and devise better procedural requirements and disciplines to better manage, monitor and treat Covid-19 patients undergoing home quarantine.

He said this would put a halt to the continuous spike of family clusters, which has put the adolescent and young people at risk of coronavirus infection.

He suggested that the state government and SDMC emulated their counterparts in Singapore, which had through its national flagship sovereign wealth fund, Temasek, distributed free pulse oximeter to each Singaporean family in July. 

“When Categories 1 and 2 Covid patients are directed to be quarantined in their homes, free thermometers and pulse oximeters must be issued to them.

The easy-to-use device to measure oxygen saturation will allow patients to monitor their blood oxygen level and detect any drop which may cause their initial mild illness to advance insidiously,” he said. — Borneo Post

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